8/15/2005

PRESIDENT BUSH: So what's the difference?

DIANE SAWYER: But let me try to ask -- this could be a long question. ... ... When you take a look back, Vice President Cheney said there is no doubt, Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, not programs, not intent. There is no doubt he has weapons of mass destruction. Secretary Powell said 100 to 500 tons of chemical weapons and now the inspectors say that there's no evidence of these weapons existing right now. The yellow cake in Niger, in Niger. George Tenet has said that shouldn't have been in your speech. Secretary Powell talked about mobile labs. Again, the intelligence -- the inspectors have said they can't confirm this, they can't corroborate.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yet.

DIANE SAWYER: -- an active --

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yet.

DIANE SAWYER: Is it yet?

PRESIDENT BUSH: But what David Kay did discover was they had a weapons program, and had that, that -- let me finish for a second. Now it's more extensive than, than missiles. Had that knowledge been examined by the United Nations or had David Kay's report been placed in front of the United Nations, he, he, Saddam Hussein, would have been in material breach of 1441, which meant it was a causis belli. And look, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous person, and there's no doubt we had a body of evidence proving that, and there is no doubt that the president must act, after 9/11, to make America a more secure country.

DIANE SAWYER: Again, I'm just trying to ask, these are supporters, people who believed in the war who have asked the question.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you can keep asking the question and my answer's gonna be the same. Saddam was a danger and the world is better off cause we got rid of him.

DIANE SAWYER: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still --

PRESIDENT BUSH: So what's the difference?


DIANE SAWYER: Well --

PRESIDENT BUSH: The possibility that he could acquire weapons. If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger. That's, that's what I'm trying to explain to you. A gathering threat, after 9/11, is a threat that needed to be de -- dealt with, and it was done after 12 long years of the world saying the man's a danger. And so we got rid of him and there's no doubt the world is a safer, freer place as a result of Saddam being gone.

DIANE SAWYER: But, but, again, some, some of the critics have said this combined with the failure to establish proof of, of elaborate terrorism contacts, has indicated that there's just not precision, at best, and misleading, at worst.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah. Look -- what -- what we based our evidence on was a very sound National Intelligence Estimate. ...

DIANE SAWYER: Nothing should have been more precise?

PRESIDENT BUSH: What -- I, I -- I made my decision based upon enough intelligence to tell me that this country was threatened with Saddam Hussein in power.

DIANE SAWYER: What would it take to convince you he didn't have weapons of mass destruction?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Saddam Hussein was a threat and the fact that he is gone means America is a safer country.

DIANE SAWYER: And if he doesn't have weapons of mass destruction [inaudible] --

PRESIDENT BUSH: Diane, you can keep asking the question. I'm telling you -- I made the right decision for America --


President Bush's Interview with Diane Sawyer, December 16, 2003

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